By CATRINA FRANCIS
Gold Standard Senior Staff Writer
Over the last decade the Army and its leaders have recognized the need to provide more assistance to Soldiers and their Family members. This realization has meant an increase in Soldier and Family programs.
One such addition has been the creation of health promotion officers. Unlike U.S. Army Forces Command, the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command hasn’t always had one on their installations. But that has changed. Recently Fort Knox added its own health promotion officer—Michelle King.
“(My) role is to integrate and facilitate the community health promotions council process,” explained King. “Based on Army regulation (the) public health process is to get all the installation service providers together (who) kind of touch health in general.
“Part (of my job) is to be responsive to the environment at Fort Knox (and how) we can be proactive (and) how we can better serve Families so they have options.”
King pointed out that sometimes there is an overlap of meeting the Soldiers’ and Family members’ mental, physical, spiritual health needs. The health promotion officers will use data gained from the monthly working group, which includes the installation stakeholders, to see on-post trends.
“(There will be a) quarterly (meeting with the senior commander) so that he can make policy decisions to better serve the Soldiers health wise on the post,” said King. “Army wide this was an initiative (that) this was the way to create a community health process so you have input from all the stakeholders.”
King added that she will look at the data and assess the trends and priority care.
Doing that she said, “Will help prioritize (and) help (the stake-holders) see what’s affecting Fort Knox.”
Although the programs such as the Army Substance Abuse Program or Army Community Service aren’t new to the post, King pointed out that some of the multiple programs can be a bit overwhelming to Soldiers and Family members.
“We are the facilitator of the process and the recommendations come from the (stakeholders),” King said.
Another change to the post will be the opening of the Army Wellness Center during fiscal year 2014. King said it’s going to be a comprehensive one-stop center for Soldiers and Family members that will be used as a preventive health center where Families can talk to a nurse and be evaluated.
“(The Army is being) proactive (about) health and wellness,” she said.
The next monthly community health promotions council meeting will be Wednesday and the first quarterly meeting with the commanding general will be held Jan. 30.